As private companies across the country focus on strengthening their supply chain, one government agency has been struggling to do the same. According to Federal News Radio, the United States Department of Defense has encountered challenges tracking its supply chain, as the Pentagon is confronting changing market conditions in which it is not necessarily the major market player.
Brett Lambert, DOD's deputy assistant secretary for manufacturing and industrial base policy, said that the Pentagon needs to recognize the globalized nature of markets in order for there to be any success in the future.
"This is a very difficult concept for many in our business to get their arms around," he said, according to FNR. "Frankly, the department is much more comfortable being the dog, not the tail of a market. This attitude, frankly, is not helpful when we discuss the various ways to track our supply chain. Simply put, the old standby to most supply chain concerns, which was to just mandate things, simply won't work in the modern global and commercial environment. We have to adjust. "
The U.S. government isn't the only organization that needs help with its supply chain as globalization creates new pressures. A report commissioned by Interchange Europe highlighted some of the struggles that supply chain managers in Thailand have been dealing with since severe flooding took place throughout the nation during last year's monsoon season.
According to the report, automotive supply chain managers throughout the globe need to look at the example of Thailand and begin putting their focus on procurement strategies in the event of an emergency. The report refers to the global supply chain as "fragile" and provided suggestions for global managers after interviewing executives from automotive companies in Thailand following the floods.
Samnuek Ngamtrakulchol, chief of human resources for GM Thailand, said that one of the most important things managers can do is to continue to update and devise plans, because natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or hurricanes are rarely predicted. Data collection along the supply chain could prove invaluable in a crisis situation, as the report highlighted local supply chain breaks as one consequence of the Thailand floods. When there are gaps like these in the supply chain, organizations will want to know where goods are at any given moment and leverage historical data about how goods move through the supply chain, to create action plans.
"No one was prepared for the flooding and I think that the lesson we take away from this for the future is contingency plans have to be kept fresh," he said, according to the report. "You can't put them away in the drawer and think they are done because things change all the time."